Many beginner golfers wonder why they should buy shoes made specifically for the game. The answer is simple: Golf shoes are specifically designed to give players stability, balance and flexibility during the unique motion of a golf swing. If a player is slipping or sliding during the swing movement, it’s harder to make good contact with the golf ball, and consequently, more difficult to produce good shots.
Since the golf swing is performed while standing still, it’s necessary for golf shoes to have a broader shoe base, so the player can maintain good balance. This is the reason golf shoes tend to have a larger sole than most other athletic shoes. Running shoes, tennis shoes or shoes made for team sports do not have such a broad base because these sports require quicker or more sustained foot motion than golf does.
If you swing a club in your bare feet, you’ll notice that there is far more foot action that you might have thought. Because of this, the more stability a shoe can give a player the better. Most golf shoes have built-in stabilizers along the side of the arches to help keep your feet from shifting or sliding right and left. This midfoot support is particularly important when driving the ball, because golfers end their stroke on the balls of their feet. The spikes found on most golf shoes also help keep players’ feet from sliding on wet or uneven turf.
Many times golfers play on irregular, hilly ground and need to take swings on awkward slopes. This is why golf shoes are suppler and designed to be very flexible. Other types of athletic footwear, such as shoes worn for football, basketball or baseball, are made to hold a player’s foot and ankle in place. But golf requires a bit of elasticity in its footwear.
If a golfer plays 18 holes and walks the course, they can cover anywhere between four to six miles. With this in mind, finding golf shoes that are comfortable for walking long distances, allow your foot to breathe a bit, and are waterproof will help your performance. Look for shoes with padded inside soles for the most comfort.
When Golf Shoes Are Not Ideal
Given all of the above, golf shoes are not the best option for every player. Those suffering from arthritis or other joint- or muscle-related illnesses may find that a pair of tennis shoes is better suited to their needs. Tennis shoes have more give in their soles, reducing the wear and tear on joints when walking several miles during the course of a round.